Contact: Michael Traupman, Director of College Relations or
Allison Benner, College Relations Associate - Media at 610-740-3790.

March 22, 2005

Contact: Allison Benner, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790
Iva Tchomakova, Student Representative, 610-740-3790


Allentown, PA (March 24, 2005) - Russell Simmons’s revolutionary Broadway performances of “Def Poetry Jam” inspire a bold and original theatrical event entitled “Slam/Jam: Wanna Hear a Poem.” The show is presented by the Cedar Crest Stage Company and runs April 14-16 at 8:00 p.m. and April 17 at 2:00 p.m. in the Samuels Theatre in the Tompkins College Center.

“Slam/Jam: Wanna Hear a Poem” is a performance showcasing the talents and original works of poetry, prose, beats, dance and hip hop rhymes of Cedar Crest students and Allentown youth. “Slam/Jam” will also feature performances by Cedar Crest’s step team, Earthquake.
The show channels raw works that are representative of young people’s strife and real life experience in an urban environment. “I saw an excerpt from Def Poetry Jam three or four years ago,” says Linda Baas, director. “The idea struck me as very inventive and I thought ‘why don’t we do something like this at Cedar Crest.’”

Set in an abandoned warehouse, “Slam/Jam” contains the unique and personal work of students and several performers from the Allentown community through spoken word, dance, rap and jam. The show, the first of its kind at Cedar Crest, aims to be multi-dimensional and thought-provoking. It focuses on themes of love, hardships, destruction and hope.

Baas’ hope was to direct a program created by young people for young people, specifically those in their teens and 20s. After an extensive auditioning process, more than twenty cast members were chosen, creating an eclectic mix of hip-hop dancers to comedians, poets, rappers and actors. “We really have an awesome blend of talents, interests and points of view,” says Christa Hagan, performer and freshman at Cedar Crest. “The cast is excited to offer a show with such diversity. We want it to be entertaining for the audience, but also stimulate discussion of the issues.”

Most performances tackle difficult subjects on an adult level, which is not suitable for children. “The themes in the show are adult, but are unique in the way they are retold through the spoken word,” says Baas. “I envisioned a group of poets bringing their words to life with dynamics and energy, bringing in their own experiences and ethnic flavor to the show, and it is happening!”

“Slam/Jam: Wanna Hear a Poem” runs April 14-17 in the Samuels Theatre in the Tompkins College Center. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. For more information, please contact the Cedar Crest Box Office at 610-606-4608.



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